A Trip to the Roaring Fork Valley 5

From Thrills to Hot Springs

Glenwood Springs: a trip for excitement, relaxation and unwinding.

A bit more than three hours from Parker, you’ll find Glenwood Springs nestled where the Roaring Fork and the Colorado rivers meet, which forms the Roaring Fork Valley. While many people know the area for its hot springs, there’s an adventure awaiting couples wanting to get away or families looking for a nice long weekend retreat.

Taking the Iron Mountain Tramway up to Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park gives you spectacular views of the valley and Mount Sopris, and be sure to have your camera ready. Upon arriving at the park entrance, you’ll be ready for thrill rides, cave tours, entertainment and other family-friendly activities.

Glenwood Caverns originally opened to the public as the Fairy Caves in 1895, but closed at the onset of World War I. The caves were closed for 82 years until owners Steve and Jeanne Beckley reopened the caverns in 1999. The Beckleys have employed rigorous, contemporary, scientific preservation methods to protect the living and historic sections of the caves.

Two guided tours, which last about 40 minutes and are appropriate for most fitness levels, are offered. They are the newly expanded Historic Fairy Caves Tour with sections of the upper cave open to the public for the first time in May 2013, and the King’s Row Tour, which includes the most highly-decorated cave room in Colorado. A two-hour Wild Tour is available with reservations. A jacket is recommended for all tours because the inside of the caves remain at 52 degrees year-round.

Glenwood Caverns was named one of The 10 Great Places to Go Underground by USA Today, as well as being named Best Family Cave Tour by Denver Westword. Over the years, the Adventure Park has grown to include a wide range of activities and attractions that draw visitors from around the world.

For the truly adventurous, the Giant Canyon Swing launches riders out over Glenwood Canyon, 1,300 feet above the Colorado River. Both the ride and the views of the canyon are breathtaking as riders soar through the air. The swing accommodates up to four riders, so friends can share the adrenaline rush of floating with zero Gs.

If you’re looking for speed, the park offers Colorado’s longest alpine coaster, a thrilling ride down a mountain side.

After a day at the Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park and a nice dinner at one of the local eateries, there’s nothing like a relaxing float in the therapeutic pools. Iron Mountain Hot Springs is located near the base of the tramway on the bank of the Colorado River. Glenwood Cavern Adventure Park offers a “Ride & Relax” two-day package for the attractions and hots springs. For more information, go to GlenwoodCaverns.com.

If you’re staying at the Glenwood Hot Springs Lodge, you’ll be able to submerge into the Glenwood Hot Springs Pool, which was born in 1888 and have temperatures ranging from 90 to 108 degrees. These mineral-rich waters are known to be the largest hot springs pool in the world, flowing more than 3.5 million gallons of water daily from Yampah Spring. If you aren’t staying at Glenwood Hot Springs Lodge, you can still access Glenwood Hot Springs Pool. For more information or to book a stay, visit HotSpringsPool.com.

On your way to or from Glenwood Springs, make sure to plan a day at Hanging Lake. This precious natural wonder has clear, turquoise water produced by carbonate minerals and is worth the demanding climb to get there. If you do go, please protect Hanging Lake by respecting the rules: absolutely no swimming, no dogs, no fishing and no illegal parking, to name a few. The rules are there to make sure that future generations enjoy this natural masterpiece.

To plan your Glenwood Springs trip, go to VisitGlenwood.com.